Improving water quality in Ōkahu Bay

Publish Date : 20 Sep 2019
Project Ōkahu

Swimming at the much loved Ōkahu Bay is set to improve. Construction starts in October for a major upgrade and separation of the ageing stormwater and wastewater pipes.

The upgrade and separation project aims to:

  • improve water quality and swimability in Ōkahu Bay by reducing the volume and wastewater overflows to between two to seven spills a year
  • increase the capacity of the network to enable more homes to be built in the area, including by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
  • reduce flooding by extending the stormwater network and adding new connections throughout the Ōkahu Bay catchment.

“Ōkahu Bay is important culturally and historically as well as being a popular recreational swimming spot. We expect to increase the safe swim days in summer to around 95 per cent when the new system becomes operational in late 2021,” says Project Manager, Sri Pulla from Healthy Waters which is managing the $15.5 million project.

Partly funded by the water quality targeted rate, the upgrade is a partnership between Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Watercare and Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters department.

The project

Sri said the century-old pipes carrying both stormwater and wastewater cannot cope with today’s needs for more land to be made available to house more people. Nor can the system deliver to expectations of clean water to swim in.

“So far we’ve completed inspections of around 800 properties to identify what has to be done and where. Watercare has completed pipe cleaning and CCTV inspections on the public wastewater network in the area. We’ve now finalised the design and are in the process of appointing contractors to start construction of the new system from October,” Sri says.

Most of the work to install the new network will be unseen with the contractors using equipment and technology suitable to cope with the challenges of the rolling deep gullied topography and geology in the project area.

It's a complex project with little room to move between properties in the closely built up residential area where we’ll lay thousands of pipes measuring between 10 to 500 metres in length. If laid end to end they’d stretch 3.5km but we’ll be feeding them to a maze of 100 different connection points to ensure best results,” Sri says. 

We’ll let residents know further details on timings of the different phases before construction starts to ensure any disruption to residents is minimised.

If you have any project related queries, please email us on or find more information on the Auckland Council website.


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